Last year, Dutch designer and artist Daan Roosegaarde piloted his Smog Free Tower – a 7-metre-high smog vacuum cleaner – in a Rotterdam park. Now that project is set to land in China, with Roosegaarde announcing plans to bring his purifying tower to Beijing.
The large purifier uses technology similar to that used in hospitals to filter 30,000m 3 of air per hour. Running on green energy, the tower allegedly uses no more electricity than a water boiler (1,400 watts).
The smog particles collected by the tower are compressed, and then used to make rings and cufflinks. This jewellery can be bought, which Studio Roosegaarde claims is analogous to donating 1,000m 3 of clean air.
Studio Roosegaarde is teaming up with China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection to tour the Smog Free Tower around China, starting in Beijing in September 2016 before travelling to four other Chinese cities.
At the end of last year, Chinese authorities issued its first pollution “red alert” in Beijing , closing factories and schools and ordering half of all private cars off the road.
Extreme measures such as these are only temporary, however, and do little to solve China’s ongoing fight between industrial development and air quality.
Roosegaarde’s towers are a thoughtful and aesthetically sensitive (the design is based on ancient Chinese pagodas) means to tackle smog once it’s in the air, but real change needs to come from greater enforcement of anti-pollution legislation.
There are setbacks to this – notably China’s economic slowdown – but Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower’s will hopefully inspire further action.
“I believe we should do more, not less, and make modern cities liveable again,” said Roosegaarde.
“Smog Free Project is the beginning of a journey to create solutions together towards smarter and brighter cities.”
A recent study led by Dr Jos Lelieveld from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry estimates that, even if every country in the world adopted our existing clean-air legislation, the number of air-pollution-related deaths would double to 6.6 million people per year worldwide by 2050.